REUTERS/ John Sommers II - Toyota Camrys and Avalons sit ready to shipped at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, January 27, 2010.

Blog Post | Metropolitan Innovations Series

In Kentucky, manufacturers partner to bridge the skills gap

March 4, 2015, Rachel Barker and Amy Liu

When General Electric announced plans to ramp up production at its Louisville Appliances & Lighting plant several years ago, the company and its suppliers faced a significant barrier: finding enough skilled workers to staff their plants and factories. Securing skilled labor is a familiar challenge for employers. Although debate continues over the size and nature of a national skills gap, in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky—a 22-county area stretching from Louisville to Lexington—the problem was particularly acute. Brookings’ 2013 analysis of the regional economy placed the area near the bottom of national rankings of skilled workers, with the gap both inhibiting growth and constraining opportunity for workers.

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